Why Do I Need a Civilian Military Lawyer?

UntitledQ. Why Do I Need a Civilian Military Lawyer?

Good civilian military lawyers have experience, control of the courtroom, advanced negotiation skills, an extremely well-developed ability to think on their feet, and experience that enables them to see issues that others don’t.

Because we deal with so many different judges and juries (by doing courts-martial in all of the services), we know how to build rapport in a variety of environments. What works in an Army court might not work in a Coast Guard court. What works with one judge might not work with another. What persuades one legal office might backfire with another.

Simply put, as civilian military attorneys we have more tools at our disposal. This is not an “either-or” proposition.  We are asked all the time why a client may need a civilian lawyer.  It’s not a decision of whether or not to stick with your military lawyer. You will have a military-appointed attorney (JAG) even if we are on the case.  Make no mistake: military counsel work hard for their clients. Adding a civilian attorney is about adding firepower and experience to your team.

The question, properly framed, is more like, “Will paying for a civilian lawyer add value to my defense and increase my odds of success?”  The answer, of course, is yes.  Financial considerations aside, you will always benefit from having 3 attorneys working for you, especially when 2 of the 3 have a tremendous amount of courtroom experience.

Note as well that some services won’t give you an attorney until you’ve been formally charged. It’s always better to have an attorney as soon as possible, even if you have to pay for it. It gives you peace of mind; puts a wall between you and the government; keeps you from making mistakes; and helps you develop a plan.

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